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The Risks with Data Center Scalability

The Risks with Data Center Scalability

Michael Lahoud, Senior Vice President – Technology Services 

Over the past several years, scalable data center solutions have become a trend in the industry. Currently, several major data center markets across the U.S. lack available power capacity, and some data center operators are focused on building larger facilities in order to meet the needs of enterprise users within the market and account for future growth.

While scalable solutions provide advantages for data center users, they also can present a set of challenges organizations should be aware of when entering into a long-term agreement in one of these solutions. As data center facilities grow in size, so can risks associated with the facility. Paying attention to the below factors will ensure data center users select a solution that meets their needs and manages risks effectively:

Physical Security Risks
All data centers have physical security risks that must be addressed. On site security, card key access, perimeter fencing, mantraps, and biometric scanners are all standard security measures that should be evident with competent data center providers. As solutions become scalable, data center operators should invest greater resources to adequately secure the facility. Additional personnel and cameras are needed to monitor perimeters along with equipment used to keep the facility running efficiently. Also, as data centers increase in size, they increase in users (companies) with access to the facility. While companies can secure their individual space and prevent access to vendors entering their environment, they don’t have control over the entire facility and must abide by the provider’s in-house security procedures. Each person in a data center represents a small probability of risk for accidents and human error. Finally, as data centers grow in size, the amount of equipment needed to operate effectively increases. As the amount of critical infrastructure increases, so do the number of potential points of failure. Partnering with a colocation provider who has the necessary experience and expertise in managing physical security risks is critical to a company’s long-term data center success.

Cyber Security Risks
Similar to physical security issues with scalable data center solutions, adequately monitoring cyber security is becoming increasingly important. In some of the larger data center facilities, many users have large deployments, housing an increased number of their systems in the facility. The more systems housed in one facility can lead to vulnerability, potentially leaving the infrastructure in danger in the event of an attack. While rare, there are instances when bugs and security failures with systems provide attackers access to more than one user’s applications in a facility. A scenario like this in a large facility would put a greater number of users in danger because of the large number of users at that one location. The risks of increased traffic with physical security can also create a threat with cyber security. If the traffic isn’t monitored correctly, someone with malicious intent could be positioned to access customer systems in the facility.

Stream Data Centers is committed to providing customers with secure data centers designed to meet the needs of Fortune 500 companies. Our purpose-built data center facilities are constructed with highest levels of security, including perimeter security fencing that is K-4 crash rated (will stop a 15,000 lb. car traveling at 30 miles per hour). Each suite within a Stream Data Center has its own secure entry, independent infrastructure and no shared equipment, providing data center users with autonomous systems designed to keep their infrastructure up and running, no matter the situation.

Scalable solutions will continue to impact the data center industry because of their ability to provide growth in a consistent format for users that need it. Understanding and evaluating the risks associated with these solutions will remain important for companies desiring data center success over a long period of time.

About Our Contributor

Michael Lahoud

Co-Managing Partner & Chief Operating Officer
Michael drives and implements Stream’s overall business strategies and technical go-to-market offerings, with responsibility for site development, design and construction, supply chain and operations. Read More